ASCA Blackpool Weekend April 2014

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It has been two days now since returning from our weekend at Haven’s Marton Mere Holiday Park in Blackpool, what a fantastic weekend break………..and not just for us but a handful of other families living with Autism or other related conditions who we raised the money for to take.

Just a year ago we started ASCA – Autism and Social Communication Awareness, we are just Mum and Dad of Mya and MacKenzie, two wonderful children, Mya is 10 and MacKenzie is 6. MacKenzie has special needs, his current diagnosis is speech and language disorder/social communication problems which could possibly lead onto a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

The aim of ASCA is to promote awareness of autism and help others understand what it is in a positive way. We do this by collecting old mobile phones, then work alongside with Hearts and Minds, a charity based in Manchester which have a recycling scheme and exchange the old mobiles for iPads which we then donate to Autism groups and SEN departments in schools. We also have a facebook page http://www.facebook.com/ASCAwareness which offers thanks and updates on the phones collected, information, advise and 1 to 1 support online. We organised the ‘Light Up Blue 4 Autism’ in Burnley and the Blackpool Tower last year and again this year for World Autism Awareness Day 2nd April.

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People along the year have raised money for us, Tesh Desai has been great organising a few events, head shave/back wax, cricket match wearing pink, but a very big contribution has been from Burnley College by raising money for us via tea rooms at open events and selling hanging baskets which students made. The Principle Trust Charity also supported us by providing us with another two lovely luxury caravans which we are very grateful for and again gave another two families the break they deserved.

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These funds have made a huge difference this weekend to the families we took to Marton Mere, just having that small break….yes its still not easy taking your child away with autism  but Marton Mere is great holiday park with lots of things to do, and with our families it offered great choice this weekend. Having a child on the autistic spectrum could mean that your child may need lots of sensory input and lots of outdoor activites, it maybe your child needs more of a relaxing time in a calm environment, the list goes on because each child or adult on the spectrum is different and has different needs. For parents the break was very important, bringing a child up on the spectrum is difficult, the things you have to learn and how you have to adapt your whole family life.

Here are some quotes from some of our families who had the weekend break:

“We have just had a wonderful weekend at Marton Mere thanks to Scott Noddings and Davina Walker!!! We have had some lovely family time and the caravan were fab, thanku soooooo much!!!!! ”

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From Jessica Greenhalgh and family.

 

“Had a fantastic long weekend away with the kids and our wonderful friends. I want to say a massive thanks to Davina Walker and Scott Noddings for arranging it all for us x x ”

From Tracy Smith and family.

 

“Thank you Davina and Scott for organising the weekend at Marton Mere, we’re very grateful and had a fantastic time. It was good to spend time together as a family in a lovely caravan and peaceful setting.”

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From Denise McGlynn and family.

 

A quote from one of the families who The Principe Trust provided the break for:

“Had a lovely holiday thank you so much very much appreciated by all of us especially Ryan thank you x x x.”

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From Caroline Shaw and family.

 

We would also like to give special thanks to :

Haven Marton Mere for kindly supporting us by providing free activity park passes for all our families during their stay.

The Principle Trust Charity for providing us with two free accommodations at Marton Mere to give out to families over the Autism Awareness weekend.

The Blackpool Tower – Richard Ryan, Kenny, Kate Shane and all the other people who supported us on ‘Light Up Blue 4 Autism’ by lighting the tower up again for World Autism Awareness Day 2nd April and extending it until Sunday 6th April so families could see it over the weekend. (Due to technical difficulties this year only the heart was able to light up blue).

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World Autism Awareness Day 2nd April 2014

 

 

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Today celebrates World Autism Awareness Day and the word celebrates is a very important one. Autism is a very misunderstood condition by others, many people wouldn’t know how to recognise the signs or even know what Autism is, and this is where judgement comes in. People in the outside world are very quick to judge, especially us mums who are doing the very best we can. Going on a simple trip to the supermarket has to be high planned and thought out, we may have to visually prepare our child first and not change the order in which we have told them things are going to happen. While at the supermarket our child cannot switch off all the high visual/audio stimulates and it may make them scream and run around. Please take a moment to read this poster i created a few months ago:

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It can be harder to spot the more high functioning child but that doesn’t mean its less harder for the parents to deal with every day. Sibling also suffer and growing up with an autistic brother or sister they sometimes get forgotten. They hear the comments from other people who are quick to judge, they also carry some of the pressures of dealing with their brother or sister when things go wrong outside ie. their brother/sister is lying on the floor of the supermarket/shop screaming or they are being socially inappropriate. Please think again your wrong judgement could heavily impact on the whole family and add to the pressure.

Back to the positive stuff….It is only 10am and it is a joy to see that World Autism Awareness Day has really took off this year, it is bigger and better. Already it has been mentioned in the news, celebrity Melanie Sykes has been on Daybreak ITV talking about her life with her autistic son, Hearts and Minds Charity based in Manchester have appeared twice on Daybreak ITV this morning, Ian McGrath and Cheryl Broadfoot …. just fantastic support and awareness.

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Locally we have again organised the Town Hall clock face in Burnley, Burnley College and the railway viaduct to Light Up Blue 4 Autism tonight. We have also arranged Blackpool Tower to Light Up Blue again this year and we have raised some funds to pay for five families who are living with Autism to have a free  break in Blackpool at the Marton Mere site this weekend. Action for ASD, Queen street Burnley are holding an open day, Preston are having a large World Autism Day Event at the Flag Market put together by some superstar mums, various organisations, charities etc and local shops in Clitheroe have done some fantastic window displays.

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Let the celebrates begin and lets all embrace Autism and shine a very bright positive light on AUTISM…..Happy Autism Awareness Day Everyone x x x x x

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